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Running Tips and Advice


On days you don't feel like running at all, tell yourself you are just going to jog around the block. Then go do it. Nine times out of 10, those few minutes of movement will be enough to kick you into gear, and you will want to keep going. And that one time out of 10? Hey, at least you've run one block. Which is one block more than most folks will run that day.

- Mark Remy -
The Runner's Rule Book

Runners will always get hurt. Almost all running injuries result from repetitive stress, and runners are stubborn and quite good at overstressing their bodies. As long as we continue to overtrain and push ourselves to the limit in our workouts and races, we are bound to succumb to an injury at some point. Being smart in your training and respecting your limits are probably the two things most likely to reduce your risk of getting hurt.

- Peter Larson -
Tread Lightly

'If it's not fun, it's not worth doing it.' My dad used to always tell me this before races growing up. I used to put an incredible amount of pressure on myself before races and workouts, to the point that I wasn't enjoying myself anymore. This simple reminder has stuck with me to the start line of two Olympic marathons. It is often the last thing I think before the gun fires. I have to remind myself to not take myself so seriously. This is just sport after all, and the point of sport is to have fun.

- Ryan Hall -
(U.S. Olympic Marathoner)

You've got to have the confidence in yourself where you believe that you can take those days off and you can recover and you can run great. A lot of what we see in athletes that just train all the time and never give themselves adequate recovery is often portrayed as toughness. What I've realized over the years is it really is a weakness. It's an insecurity that you're not good enough to recover like other athletes: I'm not good enough to do that; I need to keep training; I can’'t take time off; I can't take easy days.

- Alberto Salazar -
(3-time winner of the NYC Marathon)

The 10 Commandments of Endurance

1. Expect a journey and a battle
2. Focus on the present and set intermediate goals
3. Don’t dwell on the negative
4. Transcend the physical
5. Accept your fate
6. Have confidence that you will succeed
7. Know that there will be an end
8. Suffering is okay
9. Be kind to yourself
10. Quitting is not an option

- Marshall Ulrich -
Running on Empty

Until I started running, I never understood that the shape, form, weight, strength, and fitness level of my body were the result of the perspiration, not the diet. I viewed my body like wrapping paper. My body hid what was inside so that no one could guess the contents. No one could see what the smoking was doing to my lungs. No one could see what the drinking was doing to my liver. No one could see what the poor food choices were doing to my arteries.

Of course, it’s much easier to get thin than to get fit. Getting thinner is simply a matter of denying yourself nourishment for as long as you can. If you reduce your caloric intake enough, your body will begin to devour itself, and in a few weeks or months, you’ll be thinner. But you won’t be fit. In fact, it’s likely that you’ll be in worse shape than before you lost weight. Fitness requires perspiration. There’s no shortcut around that fact.

- John Bingham -
No Need for Speed

Most elite marathoners don't talk about poor workouts, they focus on what went well in the workout. If runners, who tend to want perfection 100% of the time, can learn to stay positive while they're pushing through the difficult parts of training, they'll build their confidence and see better performance results. Sometimes, the only way to learn where your personal strengths and limits lie is to make a mistake. How do you know how far you can push yourself until you push yourself just a little too far? That kind of experience helps you find your limits and gain a better understanding of what you can do, both physically and mentally.

- Dominic Micklewright -

One of the first lessons running teaches us about success in athletics and in life is that there is no one else. No one else can do your workouts for you. You alone must do the drills... You cannot hire someone else to do your cross-training when you are battling injury, or pay someone to run a race and get you a new PR. You are truly your own hero in running. It is up to you to have the responsibility and self-discipline to get the job done.

- Adam Goucher -

To create a training program that helps your running progress, you have to pay close attention to what it is that particularly limits you… Take for example the runners who decide they’re held back mostly by their breathing. If they take the cautious approach – 'Oh, I should NEVER get out of breath' – they won’t get much of a training effect on their lungs, which is precisely what they need most. They won’t learn to cope with being out of breath, nor will they learn how to recover after having been out of breath, which are abilities they’ll need if they’re going to race well. A runner who trains without getting out of breath won’t give his heart much of a workout either. And if his breathing is the first thing that tells him he’s working too hard, his legs won’t be getting stronger, because they won’t be put under any pressure. The result will be that nothing much changes. Next year and the year after, those limiting factors will be just as limiting. And that runner will still be posting the same times he does today.

- Julian Goater -
The Art of Running Faster

For some messed-up reason, our athletic egos still feel that we only get faster as we pedal harder, run quicker and swim stronger. It’s athlete psychology—all of our confidence is built around the times that we actually destroy our bodies. But it’s only the rest afterward that makes our bodies stronger.

Because of this psychological dichotomy, when and how long to rest is the hardest decision to make as an athlete. It takes a level of confidence above even the level necessary to push your body to the limit. You don’t get the endorphin release, the feeling of accomplishment, and the external and internal praise and satisfaction. All you get are feelings of losing your edge, getting out of shape and nervous anticipation.

So the next time you need to rest, whether it be for a mid-season break, post-big race, or just an easy day or two between training blocks, remember that it takes confidence to rest. Remember that it is just insecurity and a lack of endorphin release that makes you feel like you’re getting out of shape. Know that when you decide to rest, you’re making the right call—the better, smarter decision. Feel good and confident about it. You've done yourself a favor—you have literally just made yourself a better athlete.

- Jesse Thomas -
(Professional Triathlete & CEO of Picky Bars)

Keep a record of your morning pulse. Lie in bed for a few minutes after you awaken and then take your pulse. As your training progresses, it will gradually become slower and after three months or so plateau out. From then on, if you awaken and find a rate of 10 or more beats higher, you have not recovered from your previous day's runs, races or stresses. Take the day or more off until the pulse returns to normal.

- George Sheehan -

Adopt the 20-minute rule. If you're not sure whether your body is telling you to take a day off or plow ahead, see how you feel after 20 minutes. 'Go out the door always, says coach and 2:13 marathoner Brad Hudson. 'If the pain is worse or the same, take a day off; if it's better and you feel nothing, then do the workout.' Twenty minutes is long enough to shake off inertia that plagues all of us from time to time, but not so long that it will worsen an impending injury.

- Linda Flanagan -

Your goals and reasons for running and racing should be personalized... [It] could be because you are hoping to lose weight. Perhaps you like running because of the good feeling it gives you when you complete a run. Maybe the reason you lace up your running shoes is because it is a far better addiction than one you previously had. The main thing is that you have your own reasons. Do not run for anyone else...

When you run for reasons all your own, you have a stake in your running. You do not need to prove anyone wrong, you do not need to justify your passions, and your grip on your happiness becomes that much stronger.

- Dane Rauschenber -
138,336 Feet to Pure Bliss

It’s important to remember that each footstrike carries you forward, not backward. And every time you put on your running shoes you are different in some way than you were the day before. This is all good news, since we have no control over the kind of runner we were in the past, yet we have a fair amount of control over the kind of runner we want to become.

In the future, will you be a faster runner? Probably, if you make weekly speedwork a priority. Will you be able to run farther? Most likely, if you gradually increase your weekly mileage. You have a say when you focus on where you’re trying to go instead of where you've been.

- John Bingham -

Runners are not elitists in general. They welcome all manner of persons to their sport. But they are elitist in this respect: they see only one way to run, and that is the long way. The long way means putting in the time. It means spending an inordinate amount of your waking hours alone or with other similarly afflicted souls, pounding the pavement. It means coping with a variety of aches and pains and small physical indignities to achieve a greater sense of health and well-being. There is only one way to happiness in running, and that is the long way. There are no shortcuts. Take the long way to happiness in running, and you'll be sure to find it.

- Kevin Nelson -
The Runner's Book of Daily Inspiration

In western society, many of us seem to lose our youthful enthusiasm and simple delights as we grow up. Thankfully, running provides an opportunity to experience those emotions
anytime we like. The trick is learning not to dwell on the superficial things that we think will help us run better or faster. I like to remind myself that Abebe Bikila trained without a watch, did long runs without drinking Gatorade, and won the Olympic marathon without shoes. 

I'm not advocating that we all start running barefoot, but we should rediscover such simple gifts in other ways. Leave your watch at home sometimes before you run.

Savor the child-like joy of moving across the earth under your own power. Run barefoot in the grass. Stop and look at the view at the top of a hill, or gaze at the water in the stream you are crossing.

Seek out your own valley of love and delight. Be thankful for your ability to run, and take pleasure in the fact that you are able to do it. Enjoy every mile of the journey, because we never know when we may be in the homestretch.

Really, these should be the easy things to do.

- Donald Buraglio -
The Running Life

The one-percent theory is difficult to prove (and, therefore, not called the one-percent rule), but anecdotal information shows that the theory does seem to hold true. For every element you add to OR improve on in your training, you will improve your race time by 1 percent: Stretching, Allowing Recovery Days, Doing Circuits, Doing Workouts, Using Great Running Technique, Does Strides & Drills, Hydrating Well, Eating the Best Possible Foods, Using Energy Gels, and Getting Enough Sleep. Doing some of these can improve your time by far more than 1 percent, but the idea is that they all add up.

- Tere Stouffer Drenth -

We live in an 'instant' society, with instant fast food, instant diets (to lose the weight gained from the instant food), instant Internet, instant cell phones, pagers, email, and 24-hour news. That outlook sometimes filters down to running. There are, however, no instant results in running. Seeking instant success typically leads to disaster. Better to steadily put in your long runs and look for far-off improvement. In fact, if you did nothing but long runs you would improve and be more likely to stay injury free. Our sport is a patient, long, and drawn-out affair that requires, above all – more than talent, altitude, or a new pair of shoes – determination, dedication, and discipline.

- Michael Sandrock -
Running Tough

Call it discipline, determination or whatever you want… the means to long-term goals is one of running's great life lessons. Running has taught me that adversity is better faced head-on than avoided. The hill in front of you won’t go away, but it’s easy enough to put it behind you if just press harder for a while. That lesson isn’t taught enough, and too many people never realize that sacrifice is a requirement of life. You either sacrifice today to reach tomorrow’s goals, or you give up your dreams in favor of the fleeting comfort that’s distracting you. Call it discipline, or call it determination; without it you won’t get very far.

- Dave Griffin -

Runners tend to be dissatisfied - with how fast they are, with how far they are able to go. While it's good to want to improve, you also need to value the runner you are today. While running, think about all the good you are doing in that moment - strengthening muscles, producing endorphins, taking time for yourself. Appreciation for running creates a healthy self-identity, no matter what chaos is in your life.

- Jennifer Armstrong w/ Mary Kibiloski & The Sakyong -
Runner's World Magazine (April 2013)

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